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SIMILITUDES 



FROM THE 



OCEAN AND THE PRAIRIE 



L*&R€0^ 




BOSTON: 

JOHN P. JEWETT AND COMPANY 

CLEVELAND, OHIO : 
JEWETT, l'BOCTOB, AND WORTHING TON. 

1854. 



Entered aoc:>r<lhig to Act of Congress, -n the year 1853, by 

John F. Jfcwi/rr &. Co., 

in the Clerk's Office oj :h? District 'J.mrt of this Distric,' of Massachusetts. 



PRESS OP GEO. C. RAND, 

WOOD CUT AND BOOK PRINTER, 

CORNHILL, BOSTON. 



STEREOTYPED AT THE 
IOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY. 



CONTENTS 



PAOB 

The Wasted Flowers, 9 

The Blackbirds, 11 

The Rose on the Rock, 13 

The Wind in the Pines, 15 

The Laughing Water, 19 

The Gnarled Tree, 22 

The First Autumn Leaf, 23 

The Butterfly in the Dust, 25 

The Hidden Cascade, 27 

The Fort on the Beach, 31 

Buttercups and Dandelions, 33 

A Page from Nature's Book, 36 



Impressions of Raindrops, 38 

The Lost Gem, 40 

Death of the Bud and the Blossom, ... 45 

La Montagne qui trempe a l'Eau, .... 47 

M42657 



6 CONTENTS. 

>The Whippoorwill, 49 

The Child and the Fireflies, 51 

The Great Palimpsest. 53 

Rainbows every where, 53 

The Song before the Storm, 61 

Flowers beneath dead Leaves 63 

Mississippi and Missouri, 65 

The Moon, 67 

The Prairie Violets, . . 69 

The Web in the Path, 71 

Lilla's Lilies, 73 

The Maid of the Mist, 74 

Our Father's House, 79 

Light on the Clouds, 81 

The Boy and the Orange Tree, 8 5 

The Doves in the Court House, 85 

The Broken Icicle, 87 

The Veiled Star, 89 

The Fairy in the Ice Forest, 91 

The Steam Whistle, 94 

Dew on the Grass Blade, 9; 

The Sea and the Skv, 93 

A Gleam of Sunshine, 10^ 

The Smile of the Great Spirit, io> 



1 - J it«-: =S&^ 




WA8TBD PLOWBBS. 



SIMILITUDES. 



',.'}>* a 



THE WASTED FLOWERS. 

On the velvet bank of a rivulet sat a rosy 
child. Her lap was filled with flowers, and a 
garland of rosebuds was twined around her 
neck. Her face was as radiant as the sunshine 
that fell upon it, and her voice as clear as that 
of the robin, singing at her side. 

The little stream went rippling on, while, with 
every gush of its music, the child lifted a flow- 
er in her dimpled hand, and, laughing gayly, 
threw it upon the water. In her glee, she for- 
got that her treasures were growing less ; and, 
with the quick motion of childhood, she threw 
them one after another upon the sparkling tide, 
until every bud and blossom had disappeared. 



10 THE WASTED FLOWERS. 

Then, seeing her loss, she sprang to her feet, 
and, weeping, called aloud to the stream, " Bring 
back my flowers ! n 

But the rivulet danced along, regardless of 
•;ljer.sorro.w, . While: it bore the blooming bur- 
de'if away^ieVWrd's were sent back by a taunt- 
;%^^o;/a{qpg|j^ reedy margin. And long 
after, amid the "wailing of the breeze and the 
fitful bursts of childish grief, was heard the 
unavailing cry, " Bring back my flowers ! " 

Merry maiden, who art idly wasting the pre- 
cious hours of youth, see, in the thoughtless, 
impulsive child, an emblem of thyself. All thy 
moments are perfumed flowers. Let their fra- 
grance be diffused in blessings on all around 
thee, and ascend as sweet incense to their be- 
neficent Giver. 

Else, when thou hast carelessly flung them 
all away, and seest them receding upon the 
swift waters of time, thou wilt cry, in tones 
more sorrowful than those of the weeping child, 
" Bring back my flowers ! " And thy only an- 
swer will be an echo from the shadowy Past. 
" Bring back my flowers ! " 



THE BLACKBIRDS. 

The air is full of music. A shower of black- 
birds has rained down upon the poplar trees 
before the door, and the bare branches look as 
if they had suddenly put forth a thick foliage 
of ebony. There the birds sit, and warble out 
a wild tangle of melody, which so winds and 
twists itself among the ringing chords within, 
that it is hard to tell whether the car or the 
heart is listening. 

0, they are gone ! It was but " Look ! sister/' 
and away they flew. They have paused on the 
adjacent hazels just long enough to chirp a 
farewell, and again, with a breezy flutter, they 
are upon the wing. Somewhere their melody 
is still heard ; but they sing to us no more. 

Pretty birds ! they were like the happy and 
innocent thoughts that come swarming to us 

11 



12 THE BLACKBIRDS. 

in the dewy springtime of life. Hovering on 
the borders of infancy, which lies behind us 
like a meadow full of sweet white blossoms, 
they weave us a carol of blended hope, and 
love, and joy. But one word too rudely spoken, 
— one cold blast of reality, — and they leave 
us to lonely silence. We watch the waving 
of their wings in the sunny distance, and sigh 
because they will no longer sing before the 
threshold of our hearts. 



THE ROSE ON THE ROCK. 

There was a bare ledge of rock lying with 
its opaque surface exposed to the burning sun. 
The plain around was arid and dull, with scarce- 
ly an object to interest the eye. But, from a 
fissure in the rock, a wild rose bush lifted one 
tender, solitary bough, whose soft leaves seemed 
like polished emeralds in a rough setting. No 
sister bush smiled back upon its loveliness ; but 
the roses poured out their wealth of perfume 
upon the winds of the wilderness ; and, when 
their breath was spent, dropped in smiles upon 
their flinty pillow, and died. 

Such is the Christian's life, when afar from the 
kindred of his soul. If human hearts around him 
are lifeless and cold, revealing no spot fertile 
enough to bring to life the seeds of holiness that 
Heaven scatters every where, he does not for 

11 



14 THE KOSE ON THE ROCK. 

this shut his heart in upon itself, scorning the 
desolate scene. He is glad that even one liv- 
ing spiritual germ has made its home in a dark 
corner of the earth. And when his spirit ex- 
hales into the atmosphere of his native para- 
dise, the fragrance of his memory lingers long 
behind him, to show that he has not lived in 
vain. 



THE WIND IN THE PINES. 

" Move ! move ! " cried the hoarse Wind in 
the Pine Tree tops. " You stiff old Pines are 
good enough in your way, only you are so im- 
movable. It is my business to make all bend 
before me ; and there are poisonous weeds pro- 
tected by your shade that I want to blow down. 
So move ! move ! " 

" Nay, Wind," said the Pines, " we shall not 
move for a noisy, hasty fellow like you. You 
may make the clouds and the waves fly before 
you, or shake the boughs of trees more flexible 
than we are ; and you are welcome to brush the 
dust from our heads ; but you shall do nothing 
more. It is well that there is something firm 
enough to withstand your levelling blasts. Ten- 
der blossoms and useful shrubs and vines look 
to us for a shelter. Do not think that you will 

15 



1G THE WIND IN THE PINES. 

be permitted to destroy us and them, just to 
overthrow a few vile weeds." 

Then the Wind grew angry, and blew a furi- 
ous gust, which caused two or three of the 
tallest trees to fall with a heavy crash. 

" They were decayed to the pith," murmured 
the standing Pines. 

" Keep straight while you are sound, then," 
answered the Wind, as he went whistling away ; 
" but when you get rotten hearted, you also will 
have to come down." i 






M 




LAUGHING WATER. 



THE LAUGHING WATER. 

Minne-ha-ha, (Laughing Water,) most fitting 
and beautiful of Indian names ! 

You may find the cascade that Nature's red- 
complexioned, unmitred priest thus long ago 
christened, far up in the north-west, where the 
Minnesota runs hastily down to take a gulf- 
ward journey, under the protection of the Fa- 
ther of Waters. 

But, first, you come upon a lake, blue, rip- 
pling, translucent ; and just so wide that the 
fawn, cropping the herbage on yonder side, fell 
by the arrow of the Sioux hunter on this, with- 
out hearing his moccasoned foot slip among the 
pebbles, when he stooped to take aim. 

In this lake's side one small vein is opened, 
and the azure fluid glides across a prairie, where 

19 



20 THE LAUGHING WATER. 

the peaceful south wind hums a constant lullaby, 
now seldom broken by the echoes of war songs 
and murderous yells, borne from the conflict 
of Dahcotah and Chippewa braves. 

Following this thread of sapphire, thrown as 
a clew at your feet, you presently meet a dance 
of eddies, hither, thither, and around, like a 
troop of children hurrying to whisper in each 
other's ears some ripe plan of daring fun. A 
step farther, and the waters are leaping with 
a laugh over a jutting rock, that looks into a 
narrow abyss, scores of feet below. They slip 
off in a close, quick embrace ; then, bursting 
apart into a thousand diamond drops, they are 
set in the glory of a rainbow crescent, half 
way down the chasm. 

If, while your eye chases the Laughing Wa- 
ter down into that sheeny bow, which rests on 
either bank, among tree tops dark with boreal 
verdure, so sombre a thought as that of death 
should flit across your mind, it would be fringed 
with a misty brightness, like an object beheld 
through a prism. 



THE LAUGHING WATER. 21 

You would tell yourself that it were no sad 
transition to pass suddenly, like these joyous 
waters, from a cheerful and stainless course, 
letting the pureness of your life weave you a 
halo, a rainbow crown, as you fall into the dim 
chasm of the grave. 



THE GNARLED TREE. 

A gnarled tree was standing in a brook, on 
a tiny island formed partly by its own jagged 
roots. Its bare branches looked as though they 
had not grown cheerfully, but had thrust them- 
selves forth in spiteful crookedness, daring the 
sunshine to smile upon them. But the small 
island at the roots of the tree was covered 
with tender twigs and soft, green moss ; and 
the dimpled waters took the hue of its smiling 
verdure. 

Hard by, in a rude cabin, lived a lonely, 
crabbed old man, with one bright little son, 
who seldom saw a smile upon his father's face. 
If that father ever cast a glance from his thresh- 
old towards this tree, on its isolated, mossy 
island, he saw his own portrait, daguerreotyped 
by Nature there. 

22 



THE FIRST AUTUMN LEAF. 

A boy sits by an open door in the clear light 
of an autumn day. The sceptre of the frost king 
has just been laid upon a noble oak before the 
door ; and while the boy looks out into the 
shade, its first withered leaf floats in on the 
sighing wind, and drops upon the floor beside 
him. The merry child laughs to see it fall, 
and holds it up in triumph to the gaze of his 
companions. 

Thoughtless one ! thou dost not dream how 
like thy conduct is to that of ungenerous souls 
who rejoice to mark the first token of decay 
in a gifted mind — who exult when the mighty 
are shorn of their strength. 

Not thus wilt thou laugh when thine own 
vigor is departing. 0, learn not to look proud- 

23 



24 THE FIRST AUTUMN LEAF. 

ly on beauty, intellect, or earthly possessions ; 
but, raising thine eyes in trusting hope to the 
unfading groves that border the river of life, 
say, humbly, " We all do fade as a leaf." 



THE BUTTERFLY IN THE DUST. 

A butterfly was lying, one midsummer noon, 
in a dusty road. There were stately trees on 
either hand, whose green robes seemed sprin- 
kled with ashes. Flowers bloomed pallidly by 
the roadside, and the grass wore no longer 
its vivid, vernal hue. The golden sun shone in 
pitiless splendor over all ; yet its rays scarce- 
ly revealed the pencilled tints on the wings 
of the poor insect, they were so beclouded and 
dimmed. 

Was this the butterfly's home ? No ; it had 
left the cool, forest glen, where willows shaded 
a calm pool from the noonday glare, in search 
of pleasanter haunts and brighter skies. A 
while it lay panting ; then lifted its wings to 
fly, fell fluttering, and was buried in the dust. 

25 



26 THE BUTTERFLY IN THE DUST. 

Have you ever seen a soul, a Heaven-born one, 
suffocated by earthly prosperity, dying of too 
much sunshine, its pinions clogged and weighed 
down by the drossy ashes men call gold, until 
it could not even flutter towards immortality? 
It was a butterfly in the dust. 



THE HIDDEN CASCADE. 

Beneath one of the giant bluffs that rise in 
the great Valley of the West is a low, rock- 
roofed cave, that recedes far into the base of 
the bluff, until its windings become invisible in 
the gloom. If you stoop at the mouth of this 
cave, and listen, you may hear a cascade within 
making music in the darkness. Neither the sun- 
beam nor the eye of man may glance upon its 
dashing spray ; yet its tuneful fall never ceases. 
A clear rivulet glides from the mouth of the 
cave, and, after leaving its freshness upon the 
shapeless rocks, moves on to pour itself into 
the mighty river. 

The poet's fount of inspiration is like that 
hidden cascade. Sweet and refreshing are the 
strains that gush from his soul to gladden the 
arid wastes of life ; but to him their melody 

27 



28 THE HIDDEN CASCADE. 

seems feeble, their sparkle pale. He feels that 
his richest thoughts must be unuttered, or but 
dimly symbolized to mankind. 

Other hearts are soothed and cheered by his 
songs, while he is left to the solitude of his 
own deep emotions. The multitude may pass 
him by unnoticed ; yet, if there be a few to 
whom he may yield an echo of the thoughts 
which cannot be wholly revealed, let him be 
satisfied. Is it not better to be loved and ap- 
preciated by a few, than only to be smiled upon 
by all ? 

And even if blessed sympathy be denied him, 
he need not be lonely, nor envy the bliss of 
lower minds ; for there is always music in his 
soul. 



, I > 




THE FORT ON THE BEACH. 



THE FORT ON THE BEACH. 

A child was wont to choose for her play- 
place the ruins of a fort on the beach — a relic 
of the Revolution. 

At home, the other children laughed at her, 
because she was absent minded, and asked 
strange questions, and liked to read the " Ara- 
bian Nights " better than to play. So she often 
came down to the old fort alone ; and when 
she was tired of building Puritan meeting houses 
and Persian temples with the falling rocks, she 
would lean her head against the wall, and make 
dream palaces out of the clouds and colored 
mists that lay upon the distant sea horizon. 
Splendid airy structures they were ; and the 
child's heart lived in them, while they lasted, 
more earnestly than in hex every-day life. 

The little girl grew up to womanhood at a 

31 



6A THE FORT ON THE BEACH. 

distance from her seaside home. When she 
walked again upon the beach, she could see no 
fairy buildings in the dull mists that hung over 
the water ; for Toil and Care had been throw- 
ing dust into Fancy's eyes. 

The waves, also, had washed away the foun- 
dations of the fort, so that no one could guess 
its original purpose. 

It seemed to her, gazing at childhood's strong- 
hold of pleasure, all gone to wreck, that what 
men call real is scarcely more enduring than 
the visions of romance. The fort and the cloud 
palace had alike disappeared. 

Then she was certain that the only " city 
that hath foundations " is the one revealed to 
the soul by Faith. 



BUTTERCUPS AND DANDELIONS. 

There was an enmity between the Dande- 
lions and the Buttercups growing together in 
a field on the bank of the Merrimac. The 
Buttercups laid a preemption claim to the soil, 
for they had grown there when none but cop- 
per-colored feet pressed down the grass around 
them. The Pawtucket squaws used to throw 
the golden blossoms to their pappooses for play- 
things, when they left them rolling about in the 
shade of the wigwams. After that, little chil- 
dren of Mayflower ancestry ran about the river 
side, gathering them to remind their parents of 
May day in the motherland. 

But when the colonists planted the seeds 
which they had brought over the sea, the Dan- 
delion sprang up among them ; and soon the 

3 33 



34 BUTTERCUPS AND DANDELIONS. 

spot where the Buttercups grew was thickly 
spangled with its starry flowers. At first, the 
intruders were looked down upon with silent 
disdain ; but, seeing that they were likely to 
be crowded out of a foothold, the Buttercups 
dropped their numerous seeds in silence, and 
grew up vigorously every spring. 

The Dandelions were not to be outdone : they 
employed every light breeze as a messenger to 
bear the plumes from their downy globes, and 
lodge them at the very feet of their unaccom- 
modating neighbors. 

By and by a farmer came into the field. 

" Joshua," said he to his son, striking his 
spade into the ground, "it is a shame to let 
such a swarm of yellow weeds eat up this rich 
loam. Indian corn is a good thing, although 
we get it from the red-skinned savages ; and 
I like rye bread, too, for it smacks of merry 
Old England. Bring over the plough, boy ; and 
as soon as we can get the land ready, we will 
put it down half in corn, and half in rye." 

The next day the flowers and their feuds were 



BUTTERCUPS AND DANDELIONS. 35 

buried under the clods turned up by the plough. 
The next year, and even until now, the useful 
crops ripened peacefully side by side, under the 
hands of skilful cultivators. None who reap the 
harvests trouble themselves because one is na- 
tive and the other foreign grain. 



A PAGE FROM .NATURE'S BOOK. 

Nature's book is never sealed. Its pages are 
ever unfolding with new and delightful instruc- 
tion. It opens now to pictures of sombre tint, 
and lines of grave import, in the tracery of 
sober Autumn. Read ye one short and whole- 
some lesson. 

Behold, in the depth of the wooded ravine, 
how the green grass, untouched by the frost, 
yet softly lingers ; and, quietly and slowly, the 
stream wanders among the verdure. High 
above towers the majestic oak. In his sum- 
mer pride, he looked down upon the grass and 
the stream, like a monarch from his throne. 

Where now is his glory? The frost has 
touched his emerald coronal, and, fading, it falls 
to the ground : his loftiness only exposes his 
isolation. 

36 



A PAGE FROM NATURE^ BOOK. 37 

Why, 0, why will not man learn the blessed- 
ness of contentment in a lowly sphere? The 
loftiest head must bear the fiercest wrath of the 
tempest. Blighting care, and the frosts of cal- 
umny, fall first upon the famous and powerful ; 
and when strength and beauty fail them, the 
eyes of a sneering world are upon their stately 
helplessness. 

But the streams of secure happiness water 
the vales of sequestered life. And upon their 
banks the virtuous soul may enjoy a long youth- 
fulness of heart, may flourish in a hale and cheer- 
ful old age, gaining nearer glimpses of heaven 
through the barrenness which follows the sum- 
mer glory of human pride. 



IMPRESSIONS OF RAINDROPS. 

In the days of early mystery, before men 
were, when the cavernous earth was haunted 
with strange shapes, to which the learned have 
given strange names, — the ichthyosaurus, the 
megatherium, and the pterodactyle, — the trans- 
lators of the fossil writing in the rocks tell 
us that, at various epochs, floods of ruin swept 
over the yet unformed globe. 

Then the forests of tree fern were submerged ; 
then uncouth reptiles were petrified in the fis- 
sures where they had crept to hide from the 
crashing elements ; and then were shells, plants, 
and leaves arranged in that vast subterranean 
cabinet which is the wonder of recent ages. 

Nor these alone. When the chaotic turmoil 
began to subside, and a new order of life was 
struggling up from the ruin, light showers of 

38 



IMPRESSIONS OF RAINDROPS. 39 

rain fell upon the seething expanse, and left 
perfect impressions of their drops in the then 
soft adamant. 

If thus the secrets of the material world have 
been engraved and are revealed, shall thy his- 
tory, soul, be left to pass into oblivion ? 

All that lies hidden within, the low desire, 
the dark, unholy motive, must at last be up- 
heaved to light from the overlying strata of 
time and forgetfulness. And so shall all that 
is noble, pure, and true. 

And if, when the surges of passion are grow- 
ing calm, tears of penitence follow the commo- 
tion, they, too, shall leave their lasting impress, 
and be recognized as having antedated a new 
and sublimer life. 



THE LOST GEM. 

Heavy and black rolled the waves of the 
river of death. One approached them whose 
features bore traces of devouring sorrow. With 
a bowed form she gazed into the turbulent 
stream, as if she would fain descry something 
far down in its fathomless depths. 

A being of benign and celestial aspect ap- 
peared at her side, and said, "What seekest 
thou, sorrowing one ? " 

" Alas ! " she answered, " I wore a sparkling 
jewel upon my bosom. It was no paltry bawble ; 
but a monarch's gift, and beyond all price. In 
an evil hour it dropped into this deep river. 
While it floated near the brink, I reached out 
my hand to regain it ; but in a moment it was 
beyond my reach, and sank down, down, until 

40 




THE LOST OKM. 






. 



THE LOST GEM. 43 

I saw it no more. It is gone ; lost forever ! " 
And she turned gloomily away. 

" Stay, mourner ! look again into the waters ! " 
She looked, and uttered a cry of joy. " It is 
there, floating upon the waves. 0, shall it 
not be mine again ? w 

"Nay, but thou art deceived," was the an- 
swer. " Thou seest only the semblance of what 
was thine. Yet look upward, and rejoice ! " 

She obeyed, and beheld a star gleaming from 
a bright spot of azure in the murky sky, whose 
reflection, gilding the sullen waves, she had 
mistaken for her lost gem. 

Breathing these soothing words, the beautiful 
appearance vanished : — 

" Mourner, the billows that seem so dark and 
fearful in their tossing roll up to the golden 
gate of heaven. They have borne the jewel 
which was lent, not given to thee, to its right- 
ful owner, the Monarch of the skies. He will 
keep it safe and bright. That which was count- 
ed a gem on earth shines forever as a star in 
heaven." 



44 THE LOST GEM. 

The mourner departed with a thoughtful coun- 
tenance, no longer bending earthward, or to- 
ward the sorrowful river of death ; but meekly 
and trustingly raising her eyes to the star, which, 
beaming into her spirit, became her constant 
upward guide. 

Mother, who weepest for thy little one, so 
early lost, that mourner art thou, that star thy 
angel child. Dry thy tears, and be glad ; for 
hast thou not a treasure in heaven ? 



DEATH OF THE BUD AND THE BLOSSOM. 

At early dawn a bud was blown by a sweep- 
ing tempest from its parent bush. Just in its 
opening beauty, all balmy and dewy, it fell upon 
the grass. The tall spires waved over it with 
sighs, and the morning sunbeam looked in with 
a subdued smile upon the broken bud. 

In the evening twilight, a full-blown flower 
dropped from the same bush, and the wind scat- 
tered its leaves about the lawn. The faded 
petals, scattered here and there, hardly brought 
to remembrance the once lovely flower. Dark- 
ness closed over it, and the beautiful rose was 
never thought of again. 

Who would ask to live after the freshness of 
sympathy has exhaled from the soul ? When 
we say, " Blessed are the early dead," is it 
wrong to desire for ourselves a similar fate ? 

45 



46 DEATH OF THE BUD AND THE BLOSSOM. 

Life is sweetest in its first unfolding hopes and 
dreams ; yet the sudden pang of disappointment 
is not so terrible as the slow, sure progress of 
satiety, weariness, and decay. 

The best and fairest linger not long in the 
memory of the living. We may, we must, be 
forgotten when we die ; but most bitter is it to 
live and know that human hearts remember us 
with tenderness no more. 



LA MONTAGNE QUI TREMPE A L'EAU. 

On the Mississippi, not far from Lake Pepin, 
there is a lofty island bluff, called by the French 
discoverers " La montagne qui trempe a l'eau," 
which the pioneers have shortened into " Mount 
Tromblo." 

This " soaking mountain " starts up in gruff 
boldness from the water to intercept a' fair 
landscape behind. Travellers floating in steam 
palaces upon the river make a memorandum 
of it, as a remarkable feature in the landscape. 
Venturing to climb its steep sides, they find 
weeds and rattlesnakes in abundance beneath 
the dark foliage, but scarcely the possibility 
of a better crop. Farmers, in passing, look 
beyond to the sunny slopes, which lie in fertile 
quietness, half hidden from view, waiting to 

47 



48 LA MONTAGNE QUI TREMPE A l'eAU. 

yield up their richer than California!! treasures 
to the hardy sons of the plough. 

One is reminded by this mountain island of 
some conceited philosopher stepping into the 
front ranks of mankind, and thinking, because 
he looks far up and down and into the stream 
of events, that he is a benefit and honor to 
the race. 

Such a man cannot be persuaded that he may 
be only standing in the light of better though 
humbler men. Because of that wondrous far- 
sightedness by which he looks through every 
thing into nothing, he scorns the realities which 
are accepted by people of nearer vision. De- 
fining their goodness by clownish ignorance, he 
gravely insists that even the evil in him is of 
a noble stock and a glorious tendency. 

But honest, simple-hearted men labor on with- 
out parade, receiving the smiles of heaven, and 
bearing the harvests of true lives on earth. 



THE WHIPPOORWILL. 

Why are the whippoorwilPs notes more sooth- 
ing than those of gayer daytime warblers ? 
Because he sings at eventide. 

Our hearts bound to the light carols of birds 
that flutter amid the sunbeams, and, when day 
fades, we sigh at their departure. The pensive 
notes of the whippoorwill are in unison with 
our farewell thoughts, and we unconsciously 
come to love them better than the merry strains 
that are hushed. 

So is it with our hopes while the evening of 
life draws on. Less joyous than those which 
rang thrilling amid the morning dew of exist- 
ence, they chime in with our sober memories, 
and subdue while they also cheer our hearts. 

And so is it with the friendships of mature 
years. In youth we sport and laugh with crea- 

4 49 



r 






50 




THE WHIPPOORWILL. 


tures 


giddy 


as ourselves, and think that we 


love 


them as 


i we can never love again. But 


our winged friends fly away with the sunshine, 


and 


leave us regretfully treading a solitary 


road, 


, Then 


a low, thoughtful voice, that speaks 



with serious mildness of the past and the future, 
awakening us, meanwhile, to the real worth of 
the present, touches a chord that before lay 
hidden within ; and its tones become dearer to 
us than the music of early joy and love. 



THE CHILD AND THE FIREFLIES. 

The dimness of twilight fell upon a white 
cottage and its enclosure of trees and flower- 
ing shrubs. As the darkness increased, fireflies 
came and swarmed in the air — a shower of 
living jewels. 

" 0, how pretty ! " cried a little blue-eyed 
girl, as she rushed from the cottage, with her 
apron outspread to capture the glittering in- 
sects. Two or three were imprisoned ; and, 
seating herself upon the soft grass beneath the 
trees, she carefully inspected her booty. As 
she did so, her sunny face became clouded over 
with disappointment, and throwing the dull, 
brown creatures from her with disgust, she ex- 
claimed, " They are not pretty any more ! " 

" Ah ! my little one ! " said her mother, " this 
is but a symbol of the more bitter disappoint- 

51 



52 THE CHILD AND THE FIREFLIES. 

ments that await you in life. Pleasures will 
flutter temptingly around your path ; and you 
will pursue them only to fling them from you, 
and cry, ' They are beautiful no longer ! 7 

" But see, your released fireflies, bright enough 
upon the wing, sparkle now as gayly as ever. 
Learn, then, not to despise the enjoyments of 
earth, nor to expect from them satisfying hap- 
piness. They come and go with a flash, bright- 
ening the darkness of our mortal life, and point- 
ing our immortal yearnings to paradise for 
perfect bliss." 



THE GREAT PALIMPSEST. 

God first wrote with his finger, on tables of 
granite, limestone, and lava, the alphabet of 
organic life. He brightened the later pages 
of creation with all the combinations of light 
and beauty, and stamped upon his finished work 
the one word "Love," as his signet and the 
true expression of himself. Then he said, " It 
is good." 

Afterwards man took the pencil and inscribed 
what he would. Pleasant pictures appeared — 
tents, and quiet enclosures, for flocks and herds. 
Then he suffered caprice and passion so to mar 
his work that only a soiled and blackened page 
remained. Again arose palaces, cities, and gar- 
dens, but only to be blotted out again with 
blood. 

Strange stories the earth will tell, when all 

53 



54 THE GREAT PALIMPSEST. 

her pages are opened for us to read. There 
is no impulse of man's heart but has left its 
transcript upon her passive surface. 

Obelisks and pyramids exhibit the hollow 
epitaphs which Pride has engraved for himself. 
Affection has pencilled poems of gentle meaning 
on cottage homesteads and the lowly stones of 
the graveyard. The tragedies of Revenge have 
been scrawled in bloody characters on battle 
grounds ; and Peace has written eloquent ser- 
mons with the ploughshare and the vessel's keel. 

As the monks of the dark ages rubbed out 
from the convent scrolls the precious records 
of antiquity, and substituted their own tedious 
sophistries, so each generation tries to cover and 
replace that which is already written. Thus 
our earth scroll, alternately ornamented and 
blotted, has become a medley of erasures and 
contradictions. 

Yet write on, farmer, with the harrow and the 
plough ! Thy deep, broad lines shall never be 
wholly effaced. 

"Write on, sailor, for the wave in vain closes 
over the track thy rudder has made ! 



THE GREAT PALIMPSEST. 55 

Write on, builders, amid village roofs and 
the gates of temples ; for Nineveh and Hercu- 
laneum call out, from their opening tombs, to 
tell you that yours is no bootless labor ! 

Write on, statesmen, and all men of thought, 
but with a heedful hand, for ye write indelibly 
upon the heart of empires ! 

But let the sword, the lash, and the heavy 
hand of tyranny cease their cruel penmanship 
forever. 

The great palimpsest, Earth, will keep a faith- 
ful chronicle of all. And when the highest 
perfection of the race shall have been reached, 
— when man shall write his best, his crowning 
word upon the renewed earth, looking through 
the past, — he will see the same word written 
primevally beneath his follies and errors by the 
hand of the All-Good. 

But man will never comprehend the mystery 
of that life-breathing syllable, " Love," until he 
has learned to write it himself. 



RAINBOWS EVERY WHERE. 

Bending over a steamer's side, a face looked 
down into the clear, green depths of Lake Erie, 
where the early moonbeams were showering 
rainbows through the dancing spray, and chas- 
ing the white-crested waves with serpents of 
gold. The face was clouded with thought a 
shade too sombre, yet there glowed over it 
something like a reflection from the iris hues 
beneath. A voice of musing was borne away 
into the purple and vermilion haze that twilight 
folded over the bosom of the lake. 

" Rainbows, ye follow me every where ! Glo- 
riously your arches arose from the horizon of 
the prairies, when the storm king and the god 
of day met within them to proclaim a treaty 
and an alliance. You spanned the Father of 
Waters with a bridge that put to the laugh 

r>6 



^"""t 




RAINBOWS EVERYWHERE. 



RAINBOWS EVERY WHERE. 59 

man's clumsy structures of chain, and timber, 
and wire. You floated, in a softening veil, be- 
fore the awful grandeur of Niagara ; and here 
you gleam out from the light foam in the steam- 
boat's wake. 

" Grateful am I for you, rainbows —for the 
clouds, the drops, and the sunshine of which you 
are wrought, and for the gift of vision through 
which my spirit quaffs the wine of your beauty. 

" Grateful, also, for faith, that hangs an ethe- 
real halo over the fountains of earthly joy, and 
wraps Grief in robes so resplendent, that, like 
Iris of the olden time, she is at once recognized 
as a messenger from heaven. 

"Blessings on sorrow, whether past or to 
come ! for, in the clear shining of eternal love, 
every teardrop becomes a pearl. When we say 
that for us there is nothing but darkness and 
tears, it is because we are weakly brooding over 
the shadows within us. If we dared look up, 
and face our sorrow, we should see upon it the 
seal of God's love, and be calm. 

" Grant me, Father of light, whenever my 
eyes droop heavily with the rain of grief, at 



60 RAINBOWS EVERY WHERE. 

least to see the reflection of thy signet bow on 
the waves over which I am sailing unto thee. 
And through the steady toiling of the voyage 
let the iris flash appear, even as now it bright- 
ens the spray that rebounds from the laboring 
wheels." 

The voice died away into darkness that re- 
turned no answer to its murmurings. The face 
vanished from the boat's side ; but a flood of 
rainbow light was pouring into the serene 
depths of a trusting soul. 



THE SONG BEFORE THE STORM. 

In the soft light of June, the birds sit upon 
the hazel boughs and sing joyfully, while the 
warm, giddy winds dance to their music. But 
the winds grow weary, and, stealing off to the 
forest, they sink to repose. The air is still and 
sultry ; but the birds sing on. 

A cloud rises ghost-like from the west, and 
sheds a pallor over the landscape. Louder and 
merrier sing the birds, as if their melody might 
be poured out as a libation to avert the storm 
god's wrath. Suddenly comes the thunder crash. 
The hushed songsters fly to their nests. The 
affrighted winds start from their sleep, and rush 
hither and thither in mad terror : nothing now 
is heard save the angry roar of the storm's loud 
artillery. 

heart of man, when merry thoughts play 

61 



62 THE SONG BEFORE THE STORM. 

in all thy resounding depths, and rise swiftly to 
the lips as bubbles to the surface of a clear 
lake in the sunshine, shouldest thou not tremble ? 
Seest thou not a cloud rising to shadow thy 
bright horizon ? Too often is the wild overflow 
of merriment, like the song of the birds, most 
loud and free when it heralds the approach of 
the storm. 



FLOWERS BENEATH DEAD LEAVES. 

Two friends were walking together beside a 
picturesque mill stream. While they walked 
they talked of mortal life, its meaning and its 
end ; and, as is almost inevitable with such 
themes, the current of their thoughts gradually 
lost its cheerful flow. 

" This is a miserable world," said one ; " the 
black shroud of sorrow overhangs every thing 
here." 

" Not so," replied the other. " Sorrow is not 
a shroud ; it is only the covering Hope wraps 
about her when she sleeps." 

Just then they entered an oak grove. It was 
early spring, and the trees were bare ; but last 
year's leaves lay thick as snow drifts upon the 
ground. 

" The liverwort grows here, I think ; one of 

63 



64 FLOWERS BENEATH DEAD LEAVES. 

our earliest flowers," said the last speaker. 
" There, push away the leaves, and you will see 
it. How beautiful, with its delicate shades of 
pink, and purple, and green, lying against the 
bare roots of the oak trees ! But look deeper, 
or you will not find the flowers ; they are un- 
der the dead leaves." 

" Now I have learned a lesson that I shall 
not forget," said her friend. " This seems to 
me a bad world ; and there is no denying that 
there are bad things in it. To a sweeping 
glance, it will sometimes seem barren and des- 
olate ; but not one buried germ of life and 
beauty is lost to the all-seeing eye. Having 
the weakness of human vision, I must believe 
where I cannot see. Henceforth, when I am 
tempted to complainings and despair on account 
of evil, I will say to myself, ' Look deeper ; 
look under the dead leaves, and you will find 
flowers/ " 



MISSISSIPPI AND MISSOURI. 

The Mississippi glides down from the roman- 
tic regions of the north ; from pellucid lakes ; 
from verdant bluffs which at dawn lean against 
mountains of roseate mist ; from islands all 
gracefully entangled with the foliage of the 
pawpaw, the Cottonwood, and the grape ; from 
shores where the willow twig and the trumpet 
flower bend to touch the mimic blossom and 
bough, that reach up to them from the mirrored 
shore beneath. A pure and a peaceful stream 
is it, then. 

The Missouri rushes from the north-west, the 
land of many wigwams and unburied toma- 
hawks, bringing sand, earth, and upturned roots 
from its loose shores and muddy tributaries. 

The two rivers meet, as it were, unwillingly. 
For many miles, a distinct line in the midst 

5 65 



66 MISSISSIPPI AND MISSOURI. 

of the stream shows their mutual repulsion. 
But after a time thick, brown flakes are visible 
upon the transparent waters, and soon both are 
blended in one dark, powerful river, bearing the 
hue of the turbid Missouri flood, and the name 
of the clear Mississippi. 

Impetuous as human passion, the great river 
of the west sweeps onward to the awaiting 
gulf, and suggests to the thoughtful traveller 
who is borne upon its bosom the mingling of 
good and evil in his own nature. How came 
the strong current within so deeply stained? 
Shall he name for his fountain head the pure 
or the foul, or both ? And is there any ocean 
broad and deep enough to absorb from his being 
the pollutions of earth ? 



THE MOON. 

Two boys stood in the shadow of a huge crag 
by the seaside, when the full moon was shining 
down upon the troubled waves. 

" How large the moon has grown ! " said one 
of them, gazing upon its reflection in the water. 
u See ! it glistens, and spreads like a fairy ring ! 
And as the circle widens, every wave has a dif- 
ferent tinge. It is certainly more beautiful here 
than any where else." 

" I like better to look at it," said the other, 
" when it shines into the quiet lake by our cot- 
tage. It does not seem so large there ; but then 
it is much brighter, and its outline is perfect 
and clear. See there ! the waves grow wilder, 
and they toss poor Luna about, until I am sure 
she cannot recognize her own face in that mass 
of confused gleams." 

67 



68 THE MOON. 

Does a great man become really greater for 
the hues his character takes upon the troubled 
sea of public opinion ? How often must he see 
his motives distorted, torn piecemeal, or held 
up in a false light. 

The noble mind is best understood by the 
loving heart. Greatness may shed a wide splen- 
dor over the stormy sea of ambition, but it re- 
veals its true glory amid the placid and holy 
serenity of home. 



THE PRAIRIE VIOLETS. 

A broad river swept onward to the ocean. 
Upon one side it was overhung by gigantic 
bluffs, which seemed like vast pillars to support 
the arch of the sky. From the other side a 
green prairie slanted away, until its distant 
edge blended with the dazzling sunrise. 

A traveller came to the bank of the river. 
He beheld the majestic scenery, and listened 
to the solemn flow of the waters, and was op- 
pressed with wonder and awe. But, looking 
down, he saw at his feet a cluster of delicate 
blue flowers, trembling and dropping with dew 
amid the grass of the prairie. And when lie 
saw them he smiled ; for they were violets, just 
such as grew in the secluded dells of his home. 
And the sight of them made every thing look 

09 



70 THE PRAIRIE VIOLETS. 

more beautiful ; nor was lie longer lonely in 
the mighty solitude. 

The traveller went his way, and no eye 
glanced over the' landscape save that of the 
reposing deer, or the turtle dove flying to its 
nest in the lonely tree. 

Then the fragrance of the violets, rising on 
the cool air, at last mingled with the clouds. 

Ever lovely are the meek blossoms of humil- 
ity, but never lovelier than when they spring 
up in the hearts of the great and the gifted. 
The bold sublimity of genius overpowers the 
gazer ; but when he sees it united with the 
mild and unobtrusive virtues, he is softened into 
love. And, imparting to greatness its chief 
glory, the odor of humble goodness ascends 
above it, and is accepted as sweetest incense 
by the Majesty of heaven. 



THE WEB IN THE PATH. 

Walking in the woods, one bland May noon, 
I turned my footsteps through a narrow path- 
way that led up to the breezy summit of a hill. 
A tiny gleam of silver, flashing before my eyes, 
caused me suddenly to pause. A spider had 
drawn his gossamer bar from one green limb 
to another, and I must break it or leave the 
path. 

Flimsy as the barrier was, hanging there in 
the sunlight, I involuntarily dropped the hand 
which was raised to destroy it, and turned aside 
into the long grass. Groping through the thick 
undergrowth of hazel bushes, I became bewil- 
dered, and at length found myself far down the 
tangled hillside. 

" Ah," thought I, while striving to retrace my 
steps to the upland, " how frequently are mortals 

71 



72 THE WEB IN THE PATH. 

beguiled from high aims ! And the current of a 
life, how often is it wholly changed by obstacles 
as trifling as this ! 

" A. gay joke, it may be ; a meaning glance ; 
an idle presentiment ; something we might dis- 
solve with a breath ; but there is a power in 
its very weakness, to which we yield. 

" Had an armed warrior disputed our passage, 
fearlessly should we have grappled with him ; 
but we will not destroy the spider's web, and 
happy for us if darkness and a maze are not 
our reward." 



LILLA'S LILIES. 

Lilla, a healthy country child, ran with bare 
feet into the water, to gather pond lilies for 
a fair lady who was strolling by. 

"Ah," said the lady, languidly, "would I 
were as happy and as brisk as you ! And so 
I was, when, like you, a careless child." 

" Don't you wish," asked the simple Lilla, 
" that you had never grown up ? " 

"I will answer you thus," replied the lady, 
drawing a full-blown lily and a bud from the 
bunch that she held. " The flower i^ mine, the 
bud yours ; and you see that the last is shut 
up in its thick calyx, and has no fragrance." 

" But, dear lady," rejoined Lilla, " do you see 
those many small black insects that are eating 
up the petals of your flower ? I think I prefer 
to keep my close little bud, since I know that 
all is sound and pure inside." 

73 



THE MAID OF THE MIST. 

The pilgrim to Niagara doubtless remembers 
a pert little steamboat, which, on the pleasant 
mornings and evenings of summer, bears travel- 
lers up among the rainbows that swing in thun- 
der and foam before the wonderful waterfall. 

Whatever emotions of awe or of dread a man 
has ever had will come surging through him 
then, while he is borne on, against angry green 
eddies and between jutting rocks, toward the 
great unbroken wall of crystal, which seems, for 
the moment, the outermost barrier of the uni- 
verse itself. 

You get a glimpse of the rainbows and the 
watery wall — you may even imagine that you 
are piercing the one, and grasping the other. 
But suddenly the stormy foam comes down, 
drenching you, blinding you, in spite of the 

74 




MAID OF THE MIST. 



I . . 



THE MAID OP THE MIST. 77 

India rubber robes the guides have wrapped 
you in ; and all that you can do is to close 
your eyes, and be stunned by the roar of fall- 
ing floods. 

Just at the point where she cannot move 
another foot without certain destruction, the 
daring craft, puffing complacently the while, 
wheels quickly about, brings you into calmer 
water, and you say, " I have seen Niagara." 

Seen Niagara ? No ; you only saw that you 
were approaching a rainbow and a deluge. At 
the grandest moment there was but a mist, and 
a chaos of strange, thundering echoes. 

Niagara utters its hints of the Infinite. The 
Incomprehensible, the I AM, has poured a vast 
torrent of his glory upon the earth, through the 
united floods of nature and inspiration. This 
may men approach, and they shall both see it 
spanned with rainbows and clouded with mists. 

Upborne by the flimsy barks of opinion, they 
will look boldly into this wonder of wonders, 
needing no glory-proof vestments, so impervi- 
ously cloaked are they with sense. And when 
they have only been blinded by the shadows 



78 THE MAID OF THE MIST. 

and the spray from the Divine, they will go 
away, and say that they have seen and know 
the eternal truth. 

Every where the good Father has sent forth 
gentle streams of his love for us to glide upon ; 
but when a mortal claims to have comprehended 
the immensity of his thoughts, he is but the 
trumpeter of his own folly. 

What are these dogmas of ours but fragile, 
venturesome boats, to which a voice as of many 
waters is ever saying, " Hitherto, but no far- 
ther, shall ye come n ? 



OUR FATHER'S HOUSE. 

" I cannot find my father's house, 7 ' sobbed a 
boy, at the threshold of his grandsire's cottage, 
where he had passed the night. " I have been 
through the fields, and close to the stream that 
runs through our garden ; but I could not see 
my home." 

" My child," said the old man, " your home is 
certainly there. Go again, and, though you 
should not see it, keep right in the path until 
you have reached the door ; for it is only the 
morning mist that hides it from your eyes." 

Dear pilgrim to the Celestial City, how often 
have thine eyelids drooped with heavy tears, 
because thou couldst not see thy Father's house 
away in the blue distance ! Yet, when the man- 
sions of the blessed are no longer visible, think 
not that heaven is lost. It is only veiled by 

79 



80 our 

thick exhalations, rising cloud-like from the 
earth. There is a sun whose brightness can dis- 
pel them all. 

Then faint not in the way, but press on ; and. 
even from out the mist and the dimness, the 
gates of pearl shall suddenly open to receive 
thee ; and the wanderer will be at home. 



LIGHT ON THE CLOUDS. 

Dull and sere lay a prairie in autumn ; its 
withered, trailing grass and giant weeds whis- 
pering hoarsely to each other the warning of 
the northern blast. Heavy clouds, tinged with 
a lurid light, slowly arose, and hung low along 
the starry arch above. Heavier they grew, and 
more redly they glared, as if a pent up thunder- 
bolt were about to burst upon the desolate 
plain. 

Suddenly a sparkling belt of fire gleamed up 
along the horizon. Merrily onward danced the 
flames, prostrating as they ran grass, weeds, 
and faded flowers. The prairie was on fire, 
and that ominous glare was only its reflection 
upon the clouds. 

0, ye who look out anxiously upon the broad 
field of humanity, and believe that ye see horrid 

6 81 



82 LIGHT ON THE CLOUDS. 

clouds, charged with the vengeance of Heaven, 
impending over it, watch those clouds in faith 
rather than in fear. 

The purifying as well as the scathing fires 
are at work in society, and their light is mir- 
rored on high, at once a sign of terror and of 
hope. 

Vain splendor, perverted power, every useless 
thing must be swept away to make room for 
a world's needed harvest. Some flowers must 
perish with the weeds ; but the seeds of truth 
are safely garnered, and they will spring up 
with tenfold beauty in the fair, coming spring 
time. 

Happy they who, with a true prophetic ken, 
see in the fiery clouds the harbinger of a glo- 
rious era, a new golden age. 



THE BOY AND THE ORANGE TREE. 

Shadows from the leaves of an orange tree 
flitted over a pale boy's forehead, as both stood 
under the noonlight of an August sun. The 
boy gazed with wonder at the beautiful tree, 
with its white, fragrant blossoms and brighten- 
ing fruit ; the more beautiful because, although 
the native of a sunnier clime, it flourished in 
the bleak air of the New England shore. 

One who loved him, and saw him there, said, 
" He is like what he looks upon. Delicate and 
sweet is his youth in its blossoming ; while 
manliness, truth, and piety ripen early in his 
heart. Yes ; he is like the orange tree, bear- 
ing both fruit and flower at once." 

Winter brought snow, and sleet, and cold. 
They sheltered the orange tree, where it might 
receive the coal warmth, nor perish by the 



84 THE BOY AND THE ORANGE TREE. 

frost. They kept the pale boy, too, within, lest 
he should breathe the deadly chill of the east 
wind. But earth is all too cold a place for 
him. He watches the flowers falling from the 
orange tree, and sees the fruit turn yellower, 
and knows that he shall never behold its full 
ripening. 

And now the one who loves him so well 
glances through her tears from the tree to the 
boy. Ah, what a paleness is there settling upon 
his brow ! 

It is the blossom fading, dropping to the 
earth. The fruit was all but ripened for thee, 
drooping mourner ; be content that the angels 
gather it. Will it not round into more glow- 
ing perfection beneath the genial air of heaven ? 



THE DOVES IN THE COURT HOUSE. 

It was such a prospect as one often has in 
a city ; a dead level of brick wall, with one 
crescent-shaped window near the top. It was 
the wall of the court house. The window was 
open, and doves were fluttering in and out, coo- 
ing, and making of their Quaker-colored plumes 
a soft oasis for the eye to rest upon, after trav- 
elling over the dry, red Sahara of brick. The 
pillared entrance was on another side ; and, in 
the rotunda below, men were wrangling about 
law, and lands, and offices, and dollars. Strong 
and bad passions, nested like vultures in their 
hearts, had come out, and were angrily beaking 
each other. 

If the doves had flown in among them, they 
would have met such a greeting as this : " The 

85 



86 THE DOVES IN THE COURT HOUSE. 

mean, tame things, what business have they 
here ? " 

But they never went there to be driven out 
again ; there was nothing dove-like to win them. 
They flew up towards the dome, and rested in 
the window nearest heaven, seeming to brood 
with a gentle wonder over the stately edifice ; 
as if they felt it strange for man to forget al- 
ways, in loud and fierce debates, that the voice 
of wisdom is like the voice of a dove. 

Will this truth ever be received ? Will love 
and peace, doves of paradise, scorned on earth 
for their heavenly gentleness, and forced to 
wheel away upward for still and pure air, ever 
gain an entrance into the halls of the rulers ? 

" Not while I am alive," screams the raven 
Selfishness. And when doves are admitted into 
court houses, no more court houses will need to 
be built. 



THE BROKEN ICICLE. 

A massive icicle hung over the window of 
my friend's chamber. She beckoned me to her 
from an adjoining room. " Let us break it off," 
she said, "and carry it in to surprise our 
friends who have met here this evening." 

So we opened the window, and gazed at the 
broad spar of crystal, hanging in the cold moon- 
light like the spear of a northern giant. Then, 
uniting our strength, with clasped hands we 
tried to remove it from its clinging-place. But 
no sooner was it detached from the roof than 
the broad base, unused to being supported by 
its apex, fell off, and was scattered in a thou- 
sand fragments upon the pavement below. So 
the roof lost a grand icicle, and we stood hold- 
ing carefully a mere frozen drop, such as might 

87 



THE BROKEN ICICLE. 



be found hanging from any low shed on a 
January morning. 

Just in this way we both had often tried to 
bring out the frostwork of fancy from its sparry 
caves within. To our eyes it glittered with 
wonderful splendor, and we thought our friends 
too would admire it, and be astonished at our 
powers. But, becoming a little dizzy with self- 
satisfaction at the magnitude and glitter of our 
thoughts, and the shining mass utterly refusing 
to give itself up to the dull grasp of words, 
we were suddenly left in the midst of confused 
glimpses of ideas, with only a fragment to show 
for what had been so magnificently conceived. 

Little harm was done, however, if our aim 
was only to dazzle, and not to warm. 



THE VEILED STAR. 

A prisoner lay in a dungeon, damp, gloomy, 
and silent. No light came there save through 
one small aperture high up in the roof. This 
he watched through the long day, until his eyes 
were weary of the unchanging speck of blue. 

But when the curtain of night fell over his 
prison, a star came and looked down upon him 
for a few hours, as if to soothe his misery. The 
prisoner loved the star, for he thought it said 
to him, " Cheer thee, captive ! haply thou wilt 
never again behold the fair earth ; bat my eye 
rests on a better land, where fetters are unknown, 
and thou shalt walk in freedom forever." 

So the prisoner lay and longed for the dark- 
ness, that his spirit might talk with the star. 
But one evening he watched for it in vain. 
There shone no soft, yellow beam ; all was 

89 



90 THE VEILED STAR. 

dark as the walls of his dungeon. Another 
night passed, and still the star did not appear. 
Then he moaned bitterly, saying, " star, thou 
earnest but to mock my sad heart. Better hadst 
thou never lighted up this loathsome den, than to 
lend only a momentary and deceitful glimmer." 

But the third night it came and gazed upon 
him as kindly as ever, for the clouds by which 
it had been hidden had passed away. Then 
the captive said, "Now, sweet star, thou art 
more welcome than before ; because I mourned 
thee as lost, when thou wert only veiled." 

For thee, weary and groaning one, crushed 
to the dust by whatever power of evil, shines 
Hope, the fairest of stars. Perhaps its ray is 
so distant that the cloud which hides it may 
be no larger than a man's hand. Alas that 
so often it is the hand of a brother man, and 
no cloud ! 

But shadows, which are of the earth, must 
pass away. Hope, immortal Hope, shall return 
to reflect unto thee the light of a world, where 
the sighing of the oppressed shall be hushed 
in eternal peace. 



THE FAIRY IN THE ICE FOREST. 

A band of fairies, making a flying tour by 
moonlight, came suddenly upon the borders of 
a northern forest. Alternate storms of snow 
and rain had clothed the trees in garments of 
virgin whiteness. The beams of the full moon 
were glancing in a dazzling dance among the 
branches, and chasing the weird shadows through 
the dim aisles of the wood, arched with icicles, 
and paved with gems of frost. The fairies fold- 
ed their wings and gazed in mute wonder, for 
there was nothing half so gorgeous in fairyland. 
But when the night blast swept by them they 
shuddered, and bethought them of the warmer 
light of their own fragrant groves. 

As they were departing, one of the fairest of 
the band came and bowed before the queen, 
murmuring, " A boon ! n 

91 



92 THE FAIRY IN THE ICE FOREST. 

" What wilt thou ? " said the fairy sovereign, 
touching the suppliant with her tiny sceptre. 

" 0, let me dwell in this beautiful place ! " 
was the request. 

" Foolish one, wouldst thou forsake thy sisters 
for this cold, glittering land ? Then be it so ! 
Farewell ! » And they sped lightly down the 
valley. 

The fairy, rejoicing in her new and splendid 
lot, danced gayly, and sang many a rich carol 
beneath the jewelled canopy of the boughs ; 
and the sprites of the snow stood behind the 
huge fir stems to hear her song, ringing so clear 
and sweet through the wood. 

But long ere the moon waned her voice fal- 
tered, and her step became languid. She had 
forgotten that her fragile form was made for a 
sunnier clime, and might not bear the chill at- 
mosphere about her. Slowly she yielded to the 
piercing cold, and, at last, sank benumbed upon 
a snow wreath. 0, how she longed for the 
cherishing arms of her sisters, and for her loved 
and lovely fairyland ! The snow spirits gath- 
ered about her in their spangled robes ; but their 



THE FAIRY IN THE ICE FOREST. 93 

voices were strange, and their breath fell like 
ice upon her cheek. The stars passed over her 
head with a cold, distant gaze. Flashes of au- 
roral radiance shot, glaring, athwart the sky, 
seeming to mock her agony. Every thing about 
her was glorious ; but what was its brightness 
to her? Faintly one last vain cry arose from 
her shroud of drifting snow : " Sisters ! sis- 
ters ! I cannot live in this fearful brightness! 
Why did I leave your love for this frozen glory, 
this living death ? n 

Humble yet gifted one, sigh not to break 
from the heart circlet that clasps thee in the 
warm beauty of a lowly home. Pine not to 
roam at large amid the fitful and mysterious 
gleams that flash out from the lofty, shining 
realm of Fame. The warm affections of many 
a soul have been congealed by its frigid air. 
Its splendor is all a wondrous cheat ; like the 
glittering ice forest, above, around, and beneath, 
it is cold, freezing cold. 



THE STEAM WHISTLE. 



It is a wild, unearthly death shriek, startling 
the ear in the still summer eventide, or at the 
breathless noon of night. No wonder the In- 
dians around Lake Pepin answer it with their 
most hideous whoops and yells, for it warns 
them away from the last of their ancestral 
strongholds. 

It is the tocsin for another Bartholomew mas- 
sacre of the beautiful, the old, and the grand. 

Shriek ! Down with your wigwams, Chippe- 
was and Sioux ! they are right in the path of 
the iron horse ; but he will condescend to use 
them for provender. Run faster, Mississippi and 
Niagara, or you will be overtaken and exhaled 
through his monstrous lungs. Humble your 
proud heads, White Hills, Alleghanies, and ye 
Rocky Mountains, for your time shall come ; 

94 



THE STEAM WHISTLE. 95 

your sides shall be seamed and scarred, until 
the winds of all your summits wail over your 
ruined symmetry. Back to your sod, grim rev- 
olutionary ghosts ! they have laid the rails over 
the battle grounds of Bennington and Stillwater : 
and if you rise in rebuke, you will only be mis- 
taken for a puff of vapor from the locomotive. 
Shriek ! whistle ! shriek ! What is that lying 
across the track ? Only the mangled corpse of 
Romance. Off with it, cowcatcher ! All right, 
now ! Put on more steam ! 



DEW ON THE GRASS BLADE. 

In a narrow woodpath every blade of grass 
had received the blessing of the night dew : 
now and then one still held a quivering pearl 
poised upon its tip ; but most had shaken off 
the silvery baptism, coquetting with the morn- 
ing breeze. One green blade bent lower than 
the rest, under the weight of large drops that 
hung upon it in a crystal chain. In vain the 
breeze ran by with a gush of laughter ; in vain 
the tall blades above whispered of insects with 
gay, gossamer wings, that fluttered among them, 
and of the sunny landscape around ; in vain 
the sunbeams tried to edge through the shad- 
owing leaves to steal its jewels ; the blade lay 
cool and still in its shelter, gaining freshness 
from its precious burden. Only when imperial 
day came, and claimed the dewdrops to be 

9G 



DEW ON THE GRASS BLADE. 97 

woven into his rainbow crown and vest of sun- 
set clouds, were they resigned ; and strong and 
green the bent grass blade arose and waved 
above the scorched and shrivelled herbage of 
the woodpath side. 

So the heart loves to bow under the refresh- 
ing burden of gratitude. And the richer the 
blessing it has received, the lowlier it becomes, 
and the more it seeks to shrink away from the 
distracting sights and noises of earth, and make 
a crown and an inward life of the influence by 
which it has been blessed. And with the fresh- 
ness of grateful emotions within, it can better 
resist the dust and the glare without, and spring 
up in dewy strength to gladden a parched and 
despairing world. 
7 



THE SEA AND THE SKY. 



The sea is but an imperfect mirror of the sky. 
It reflects the gray rain clouds, more dull and 
leaden than themselves ; and the hues of sunset, 
in their soft blending, are spread out upon it 
with a molten, glittering splendor. The mariner 
at the helm sees the Lion and the Scorpion of 
the zodiac, and Lyra and Arcturus, and all the 
stars that guide his course, gliding over the 
waves beneath him, clearest in the calm, when 
he least needs their light. Of the nebulous 
fields of space behind the golden bars of the 
constellations, the sea gives but the faintest 
shadow, white and dim. 

Sirius, brightest of telescopic suns, is only a 
star to unaided eyes. All that we see of the 
vast spiritual depths beyond appears in minia- 
ture, narrowed to the angle of our mortal vision. 



THE SEA AND THE SKY. 99 

What is visible to us we call real ; yet it is no 
more than a dim reflection and shadow picture 
of the great reality. 

The image of the Infinite is within us, but 
faint from the distance, broken by the wild 
surges of sorrow and sin. When earth and sea 
shall have passed away, what form will the 
soul take upon itself? Perhaps, resolved into 
its pure elements, it shall become a clear me- 
dium to receive and transmit the thoughts of its 
divine Original. Is not this what it tosses and 
stretches after, moaning over itself, and vainly 
lashing its physical boundaries? 

What are we ? what shall we be ? and how 
shall we be what we may ? The waves of 
human thought roll these questions towards each 
other with vague, mournful murmurs, but bring 
no answer. Yet must there be an answer ; and 
the troubled sea will not rest until it is found. 



A GLEAM OF SUNSHINE. 



It glanced like a spirit past the window. I 
knew it was in the garden, burnishing the gay, 
stiff uniforms of the hollyhocks ; dancing about 
to hang a separate pearl on every leaf of the 
currant bushes, and sprinkling silver dust upon 
the spray of the fallen asparagus. 

I knew it would not be so beautiful again as 
just at this moment, while its jewelled footstep 
was gliding over the dewy sides of the peach 
leaves, letting the heavy masses of foliage sink 
in deep shadow underneath ; and yet I did 
not rise to enjoy it. In a few minutes I meant 
to leave my book and go. But by that time the 
old dog-day hues had returned to every thing, 
cloudy, drizzly, and foggy ; and in the garden, 
nothing but the shadows of dark shades. 

I had failed to secure one picture of beauty 

100 



A GLEAM OP SUNSHINE. 101 

to hang up in my heart's gallery for a perpet- 
ual joy. So I sat down again and wondered if 
those who complain that this is a world without 
sunshine do not often choose to remain in their 
own shadow, or that of somebody else, when 
there is a gleam. 



THE SMILE OF THE GREAT SPIRIT. 

Lovely as the meaning of thy name art thou, 
Winnipisseogee ; and fair are the islands that 
rise from thy placid waters as pleasant words 
which are twin born with a smile. 

Fair, too, are the embracing mountains set to 
guard thee, whether starbeams cincture their 
heads, or white clouds hang in a fleecy girdle 
about their sides ; or the rain and the mist pass 
over them with ever-shifting hues, as the inmost 
emotions of the soul are changefully shaded 
upon a face that speaks without words. 

And silent and solemn are the bold mountain 
peaks that loom up behind, beckoning the wan- 
derer through the long perspective to hills on 
hills beyond ; which scaling, he shall at length 
behold the lofty White Hills of the north. 

Friend, in whose presence was first revealed 

102 



THE SMILE OP THE GREAT SPIRIT. 103 

to me the beauty of the blue New Hampshire 
hills, — smiling through the hazy, floating veil 
of retreating summer, or paling and darkening 
with the changes of the weeping clouds, — the 
sunlight of thy broad humanity has made clearer 
to me the charm and the blessing of life's pres- 
ent realities and dimly-outlined mysteries ; and 
has shown me the smile of the Great Spirit, ever 
serenely reflected from amid the wearisome and 
sorrowful mountains of existence. 

What lies beyond those mountains? Fairer 
islands, stiller waters, than these ; grander 
heights of mystery, too, the cloudy wonders of 
whose summits are glorious with unutterable 
splendor from the eternal Light ; but over those 
heights will never darken the mists of human 
doubt, the rain of human sorrow. 



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— Similituaes 



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THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY 



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